Since modern-day “policymakers” are averse to allowing even the slightest bit of economic pain to materialize (except if the countries concerned are small and helpless, such as Greece), they have implemented unprecedented monetary pumping and debt expansion to hold recessions at bay. China’s planners have been especially diligent in this respect, misallocating resources in truly grand style and leaving the country buried in a pile of unsound debt. The combination of demographic and economic challenges the country now faces means that more than just a small hicc-up is probably in store, even though the timing of the denouement remains uncertain.
The massive magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck Japan this afternoon, the strongest since the devastating quake of 2011, took place at night local time, and as such there was little available media coverage. As Japan wakes up, much of the destruction becomes apparent.
Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, this country has been steadily bled and slowly bankrupted. We are now as overextended as was the British Empire in the 1940s. Time for a reappraisal of all of the war guarantees this nation has issued since the beginning of the Cold War, to determine which, if any, still serve U.S. national interests in 2016. Alliances, after all, are the transmission belts of war. This is not isolationism. It is putting our country first, and staying out of other people’s wars. It used to be called patriotism.
"How do you know this is just a short squeeze, and not the beginning of something much more substantial? While equities are trying to send a bullish tune, the 200 day moving average is now trending down for S&P, Dax and the Nikkei. This is not bullish. Furthermore, yield curves in the US, Japan and Europe have flattened. This is not bullish. Yen is rallying. This is not bullish. We have seen substantial covering by the market. This is not bullish."
A day after yesterday's "biggest quake since 2011's tsunami," at 1:25 local time, Japan was just struck with a massive aftershock in the form of a Magnitude 7.0 earthquake, which means it was roughly 10 times stronger than yesterday's tremor:
Any honest person working with such models know their gross limitations and how awful their track-records are. Still, these are the tools guiding the world’s central planners when they micromanage economies, be it fiscal or monetary expansion. They are obviously completely clueless, but still act with an extravagant level of hubris simply because they believe the scripture and their models.
Don't expect any optimistic emails from Tim Cook to Jim Cramer for a long time, because according to a just released report in Japan's Nikkei, Apple will continue its reduced production of iPhones in the April-June period in light of sluggish sales, according to parts suppliers notified of the plan. The website reports that slow sales of the flagship iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which debuted last autumn, have forced Apple to adjust inventories. It lowered production for the January-March quarter by about 30% from the year-earlier period. With sales still sluggish, the U.S. company has told parts suppliers in Japan and elsewhere that it will maintain the reduced output level in the current quarter.
Those that were hoping for an “economic renaissance” in the United States got some more bad news this week. It turns out that the U.S. economy is in significantly worse shape than the experts were projecting. Retail sales unexpectedly declined in March, total business sales have fallen again, and the inventory to sales ratio has hit the highest level since the last financial crisis. When you add these three classic recession signals to the 19 troubling numbers about the U.S. economy that we wrote about last week, it paints a very disturbing picture.
The Fed doesn't care about Main Street. It cares about just ONE thing: the Bond Bubble.
Less than six months after we pointed out that the BoJ owns 52% of the entire Japanese ETF market, Reuters reports that the Kuroda's Peter Pan fairy tale, aka the Bank of Japan, is thinking about buying even more. The BoJ is said to be currently buying $30 billion of ETF's a year under its current policy, however since the Nikkei is down over 10% this year, that figure is apparently not enough to keep the market propped up.
Good news is still bad news after all. After last night's China 6.7% GDP print which while the lowest since Q1 2009, was in line with expectations, coupled with beats in IP, Fixed Asset Investment and Retail Sales (on the back of $1 trillion in total financing in Q1) the sentiment this morning is that China has turned the corner (if only for the time being). And that's the problem, because while China was a good excuse for the Fed to interrupt its rate hike cycle as the biggest "global" threat, that is no longer the case if China has indeed resumed growing. As such Yellen no longer has a ready excuse to delay. This is precisely why futures are lower as of this moment, because suddenly the "scapegoat" narrative has evaporated.
"If the money market dries up, if there is an event like the Lehman crisis, there won’t be the infrastructure for banks to raise capital... Every day is like being Alice in Wonderland... interest-rates levels are having no effect on credit demand, the market function is declining. You can’t expect everything to go according to plan."
Recall all those tankers we have profiled before on anchor next to the Iran shore? They have finally started to move.
Negative rates on savings accts., life insurers & banks suffering as central bankers push NIRP/QE, increasing FICC risk. So, what's now more stable than Brazilian real & gold & close to the yen & euro? Hint: Technology will put an end to this nonsense.